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Friday, April 13, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


I've posted my chocolate chip cookie recipe but this is THE BEST cookie recipe I have ever tried. I have made them a ton and know how to make them perfectly now. I think what makes them so good is the tiny bit of cocoa powder. Since the cookies aren't a chocolatey color, it makes you wonder what is in them that tastes so good (I think that is it!).
Whatever you do, don't change this recipe, because this literally is perfection. Use butter, not margarine (and I normally prefer margarine). There is no vanilla, you might be tempted to add it but don't. I promise this cookie will exceed all expectations! And the dough is just as good as the cookie itself.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (salted or unsalted, both turn out great)
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Beat butter, peanut butter and both sugars. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Form dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. If some of the balls are lacking chocolate chips, I add in more, so keep those chocolate chips out! Place no closer than 2 inches apart. Use back of the fork to FLATTEN DOUGH in a crisscross (once I forgot to do this and they did not turn out as well). Bake for 9-10 minutes and take out, do not go longer. You do not want the tops browned! When they are, they taste burned! So, take it out before they turn brown. If your oven is different than mine and your first batch turns out browned, take the time down to 8 minutes but do not let them get brown (have I made my point?). Let cookies cool 4-5 minutes on cookie sheet (otherwise they will fall apart) then remove to cooling rack, or in my case aluminum foil.

Printable Version (includes the recipe halved)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tutorial: Silky Flower 2


What you need:
  • silky fabric (with polyester)
  • coordinating thread
  • tulle
  • button for center piece
  • headband or clip
  • candle

1. Cut 2 rectangles of the silky fabric about 11" x 3.5
2. Round all of the edges:

3. Cut zig-zags on all the LONG ends (doesn't need to be perfect):

4. Burn all around the edges of both rectangles:

5. Cut a piece of tulle as big as your silky pieces with burned edges. Also, cut a piece of thread:

6. Layer your pieces together from bottom to top: silky fabric, silky fabric, tulle. Then fold them like a fan. Watch the video:

video

Now you have this:

7. Now, tie your thread around the middle of your fan, making a tight knot. Go around the whole fan 2 or 3 times to get it to stay in place. Since I was doing this without anyone around, I found it easiest to hold it like this while I tied it one handed.

Now you have this:

8. Spread the fabric out to make a circle shape. It spreads out easier than you would think.

9. Sew the bottom layer to itself on both sides. Since this is on the bottom, you can sew all the way across until close to the edge, since this part won't be seen.

10. For the sewing together the top layers, I overlapped them about a half inch (pictured below) and sewed them together near the middle (pictured 2 below). I used the naturally curled edge from the burning to hide the thread (plus the tulle is still over it).

Now yo have this:

11. Trim tulle as needed to get it into the circle shape.
12. To keep the tulle edges together you use the thread for the button to go up and through all the layers of fabric. See the video below. After watching, sew on your button.

video
Sew on a headband or clip for the back! Now you've got a cute flower for pictures!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Lesson and Activity

This was my lesson for activity days. You've probably seen it. Take 12 Easter eggs and fill them with symbols from the Easter story. When I looked online to print this lesson out. I never found one I loved. I felt like they dwelt on too many of the sad graphic parts of the Easter story and not enough of the happy parts. So here is my happier version.
First off, here are my notes. Before you read them, know this:
  • It is my own words unless there is a reference at the end of the paragraph. I referenced everything unless it is my own words.
  • This is an LDS version: it includes when Christ visited the people in the Americas after his resurrection.
  • Scriptures follow the symbol
  • Symbols are bold
  • There are a good amount of notes. Read it, see what you want to use and just cut out what you don't want to use. The younger your audience, the more you take out.

Here's what you do. Gather symbols (Their meanings are in the notes I linked to):

  1. Leaf: bay leaf
  2. Coins: 3 dimes
  3. Piece of bread
  4. Sacrament cup
  5. Olive: I made one out of paper
  6. Sword: made it out of paper
  7. Scarlet robe or thorn: I used a piece of red cloth
  8. Cross: I broke a tooth pick a quarter of the way down and glued it into a cross shape
  9. Linen: I used a thick piece of a white fabric scrap
  10. Leave Empty
  11. Book of Mormon: I cut out a picture from a pass along card
  12. Cloud: cotton ball

Next number the eggs with stickers, or you can just write the numbers on the eggs. Then put the pieces in the eggs.

I displayed them nicely in an Easter basket:

When I presented the lesson, I think I talked a little too much for my age group (8-9 year old girls). So, just remember, if you audience is young, briefly describe each symbol. Now I know for next time.
After the lesson we made Easter lilies. The idea came from The Friend, April 2012. Here is a link on how to do it. So easy! Just trace your hand, cut it out, roll each finger, tape it in a circle and add yellow and green pipe cleaner. I had the girls make two. One for a bouquet for the primary president and another to give to who ever they wanted.

We added these tags. Here are ideas of what to put on the tag:
  • You are an EGGcellent Mom
  • You are EGGcellent
  • Hoppy Easter
  • There's no bunny quite like you
  • Some bunny loves you
The pipe cleaner poked through the paper really nicely too!